There’s never been any question about his talent. But when Josh Ho-Sang slept in and was late for the first day of New York Islanders training camp, it sure brought up the many, many questions about his attitude.
The Isles sent him back to junior and told him to “grow up”.
Embarrassed by the demotion, he proceeded to lead the Niagara IceDogs in scoring. His 82 points were 23 more than the next highest total on the team. He added 26 more points in 17 playoff games.
The Isles were pleased with what they saw.
“He’s focused in,” the club’s director of player development, Eric Cairns, told NHL.com. “He took some steps this year towards being a more reliable guy off the ice, as well as on the ice. He’s a mature guy, but he also needs to keep on learning the steps to do the right things at all time, which is normal for a lot of different young men. It’s not the first time anything like that has happened, it’s not going to be the last. But he seems to be in as good a place as I’ve ever seen him.”
H0-Sang will turn pro next season, likely starting in the AHL with Bridgeport. He still thinks about what happened at camp, but he’s looking forward to showing the Isles he’s serious about his career.
“I know I still have a lot to prove to the NHL guys,” he said. “I want them to respect me and know that I’m not there to waste their time.”
The Anaheim Ducks have reportedly re-signed Korbinian Holzer to a one-year deal. Assuming the report is accurate, the addition of Holzer gives them nine defensemen for next season, including restricted free agent Hampus Lindholm and youngster Shea Theodore.
Nine defensemen is, of course, too many defensemen, which is why many still believe that Cam Fowler will be traded at some point in the offseason. Fowler himself has said he expected to be dealt and was “honestly pretty surprised” it didn’t happen during draft weekend.
For GM Bob Murray, an alternative to trading Fowler would be trying to move Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner. However, that might not be possible, since Bieksa has a no-movement clause and Stoner may not have a market.
Fowler, just 24 years old, could net the Ducks a nice return.
“When I saw how Cam Fowler was able to have a presence at the NHL level as an 18-year-old, and to watch his development to where he is today, he’s a prototype NHL defenseman.” said head coach Randy Carlyle, per the Ducks’ website. “He has great qualities. He can skate, move the puck and get involved with the rush. He’s a joy to coach.”
In the end, the solution may be as simple as putting Holzer on waivers or keeping Theodore in the minors.
But a Fowler trade is the move that everyone’s watching for. Because remember, it’s not just about the Ducks having too many defensemen for next season; it’s also about the expansion draft and the fact he can become an unrestricted free agent in two years.
Related: The Wings’ search for a ‘top-three defenseman’ may last until training camp
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed 23-year-old forward Victor Rask to a six-year, $24 million contract extension.
A second-round draft pick of the Hurricanes in 2011, Rask set career highs last season with 21 goals and 48 points.
“Victor has gotten better every season that he’s been a part of our organization,” said GM Ron Francis in a release. “He is a big part of this team’s present and future, and we are thrilled to sign him to a longer-term deal.”
Rask joins Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk as the only ‘Canes signed for at least three more years.
The deal also inched the club over the salary floor, per General Fanager. Carolina was the only team still below it.
Related: Watch out for the Carolina Hurricanes
Mike Richards knows his numbers with the Washington Capitals weren’t great.
In 39 regular-season games, he had just two goals and three assists. In 12 playoff games, he had no points at all.
But the 31-year-old center still thinks he can play. He isn’t done with hockey yet.
“Obviously, a disappointing end to the season, but that happens, only one team can win,” Richards told KenoraOnline recently, recalling his mid-season move to Washington in the wake of a messy breakup with the Kings.
“It was a little bit of an up-and-down season. I probably expected it to go a little more offensively, but it’s not easy to just jump in mid-season. Live and learn and hopefully I can get a full season under my belt this year.”
An unrestricted free agent, Richards said he’s hoping to “get some traction in the next couple of weeks.” For now, he’s just training and waiting.
It may be that he has to accept a training camp tryout, with a team that prefers to take a preseason test drive before it commits to anything.
At the very least, he should get that.
After all, it was only two years ago that Richards hoisted the Stanley Cup for the second time in his career, even if that seems like a long time ago now.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Russian forward Roman Lyubimov to an entry-level contract.
It’s a one-year, two-way deal for the 24-year-old, according to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, Lyubimov has spent the past few seasons playing for CSKA Moscow (with Alexander Radulov) in the KHL. He had seven goals and seven assists in 52 games last season, then added four goals and four assists in 15 playoff games.
“He’s a role type of player,” GM Ron Hextall told reporters. “I don’t necessarily think he’s going to be on your first power play. He’s a hard worker, he goes to the net, he scores some dirty goals. He’s got good size and he skates well.”
Lyubimov also represented Russia at the world championship in May. He had four goals and four assists in 10 games.